If you have experienced a flood or leak and you have wood floors, time is of the essence.
Removing water and drying out the wood should be your first priority. If wood is left wet, it can warp and cup, which will damage it beyond repair.
Wood is also an organic material that can grow mold very easily. This can cause serious health issues and should always be removed if at all possible.
Drying Wood Floor: Basic Idea
Mold can grow in as little as 48 hours. To get your wet wood floor dry quickly, follow these steps:
- Remove any wet objects
- Soak up the standing water
- Clean the wood floor
- Dry the floor
- Perform a moisture test
Wood Floor Water Damage Types
There are a few different ways that water can damage your wood flooring. By getting floors dried quickly, you can avoid these issues.
Wood flooring can start to cup if water gets underneath it. When this happens, the planks will form an arch and start to pull up from the fasteners.
Wood can also swell if water is allowed to soak into the pores. This will cause splintering and cracking as the planks will no longer fit together.
Perhaps the most dangerous damage type with wet wood is mold.
Mold grows when organic material is allowed to get wet. Wood is especially susceptible to different types of mold and should be dried immediately.
Remove Wet Objects
The first thing you should do if your wood floor gets wet is remove any wet objects. Rugs, furniture and clothing should all be taken off the floor.
Furniture especially can hold onto water and transfer it into the floor. If at all possible, get all furniture up off the floor or out of the room.
Rugs should also be removed and either left out in the sun to dry or placed in a dryer. Rugs can grow mold just like carpet, so it is important to move quickly with them as well.
Soak up Water
After you have removed the wet objects, try to soak up as much water as you can.
This can be done with absorbent towels or with a wet/dry vacuum. If you have a large amount of water, push it out of the room using a squeegee.
Clean the Floor
It may seem counterintuitive, but you should clean your hardwood floor after removing the water.
This will help remove any dirt or debris that has come up out of the flooring with the water. This dirt can quickly turn into mold if it is not removed.
Try not to use too much water and focus more on using an oil-based soap. This will pull the dirt out of the pores and grain of the wood.
After the floors are clean, you can start to dry them out.
Use fans to air dry the wood by placing them in a circle around the area that needs to be dried. Let them blow at full power for at least 24 hours to help ensure that everything is dried out.
By pulling the moisture out of the air, you can be sure that it won’t settle back down into the flooring. The dehumidifiers will collect the water so you can see how much you have removed.
Do a Moisture Test
Once you have removed all the moisture from the floors and air, you should perform a moisture test. This can be done with a moisture reader purchased at any hardware store.
Perform a test every day or so to ensure that you have removed any and all water. If the meter shows the presence of water, run the dehumidifiers for another 24 hours.
- Will cupped hardwood floors flatten out over time?
Cupped floors will flatten out slightly over time. However, they will never be completely flat.
This is why it is so important that you move quickly when flooring gets wet to avoid irreversible damage.
- What does black mold look like on wood floors?
Black mold looks like dark, leathery discoloration on wood floors.
However, black mold can grow under the floors in between the slats and vapor barrier. Remember that you can’t always see it, so you should keep moisture away if possible.
- What causes moisture under hardwood floors?
The most common cause of water under flooring is flooding and spilling.
Water can also get under flooring from the bottom up. If you don’t have a proper vapor barrier, ground water can make its way under the slats.
If your hardwood flooring gets wet, the important thing is to move quickly. You can avoid damage and mold if the water is removed as soon as possible.
By following the steps in this guide, you can be sure that your hardwood floor won’t be ruined by water.